Etymology
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passing (adv.)

"in a (sur)passing degree, surpassingly," late 14c.; from passing (adj); see pass (v.).

passing (n.)

"death," 1869, a euphemistic verbal noun from pass (v.) in such Middle English phrases as passing of death, passing of the soul (c. 1300). A passing-bell (1520s) was a church bell tolled at the time of a person's death.

passing (adj.)

mid-14c., "transitory;" late 14c., "going by," present-participle adjective from pass (v.). Also from late 14c. as "surpassing, excellent," and "casual, superficial, cursory, as though done in passing." Related: Passingly.

updated on February 10, 2020

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